On the heels of news that the U.S. Food and Drug Administration is investigating links between the 5-Hour Energy drink and 13 deaths over the past few years, the product’s manufacturer is defending the safety of its caffeine-loaded “shots” when users follow the guidelines as directed on the bottle.
After the New York Times reported that the FDA is investigating those deaths (all of which occurred during the past four years), the FDA confirmed that report. The investigation is bears resemblance to another investigation the agency conducted for Monster Energy drink, with possible potential deaths related to that product.
Elaine Lutz, a spokeswoman for distributor of the drink Living Essentials, said the company is unaware of any deaths with proven connections to 5-Hour Energy; the New York Times also clarified that filing a request for investigation by the FDA does not necessarily mean the energy shot is the cause of death or injury.
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By law, Living Essentials must supply the FDA any reports of possible deaths or injuries linked to its product since the energy shot is listed as a dietary supplement.
The NYT report states that in the past four years, 5-Hour Energy has been named in approximately 90 filings with the F.D.A.; of those, more than 30 involved serious or life-threatening injuries including heart attacks, convulsions and, miscarriages.
Lutz reiterated that 5-Hour Energy is safe if individuals consume it as directed: this means no more than two of the 2-ounce shots per day. Those two daily shots, each of which contains roughly the same amout of caffeine as a cup of coffee, should not be consumed one right after the other, the company said.
Consumer Reports recently analyzed the amount of caffeine in 27 different energy drinks. “The highest amount per serving was 242 milligrams of caffeine in 5-Hour Energy Extra Strength. The lowest was in 5-Hour Energy Decaf, which despite the name carries 6 milligrams of caffeine per serving.”
Living Essentials said 5-Hour Energy, which is also contains a significant amount of B vitamins, is for “hardworking adults who need an extra boost of energy,” yet it’s not the same thing as an energy drink” and isn’t marketed as a beverage, the distributor said.
Monster Beverage, the maker of Monster Energy, also said its drink is safe if consumed as directed. Those who work in emergency rooms may bag to differ with this claim: the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration said more than 13,000 emergency room visits in 2009 were linked to consumption of energy drinks.
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